Numerous studies have highlighted the co-occurrence of HIV risk behaviors, drug use, and conduct problems for youths involved in the juvenile justice system. Detrimental social, health, and mental health outcomes for youths with this triple threat of co-occurring problems are well-documented as is a cascading host of additional problems as they age including AIDS, severe and persistent physical and mental health problems, incarceration, and early death. Although specific targets for prevention and intervention for youths with the triple-threat constellation have been identified, no evidence-based models have been developed to integrally address this constellation with adolescent juvenile justice populations. Given that prior research has highlighted a strong interrelation between these high-risk behaviors, and the accumulating evidence that delinquent, drug-abusing youth are at particularly high risk to contract HIV, intervention models are needed that can be implemented in the context of existing youth service systems such as juvenile justice. The proposed study aims to test a family-centered preventive intervention for adolescent boys involved in the juvenile justice system who are at high risk for experiencing problems with chronic delinquency, drug abuse, and contracting HIV/AIDS in partnership with the local juvenile justice authority where the intervention will be delivered. The proposed sample (N=80) includes boys ages 14-18 who have at least one criminal referral, documented drug use, are living in the community (e.g., biological/adoptive parent, relative or foster care) and have been placed on supervised probation or a formal accountability contract by the juvenile justice system in Lane County, OR. Youths and their parent(s) will be randomly assigned to an integrated conduct problem, drug use, and HIV risk intervention (ICDH;n=40) or to a services as usual (SAU;n=40) control condition. The ICDH condition will consist of communication, decision-making, self-efficacy and skill building for youths, and parent training and support for parents. The youth and parent components will run concurrently for 6 months. The control (SAU) condition will consist of all usual services provided by the juvenile justice department. The proposed study builds on preliminary findings from a Mentored Career Development Award (K23 MH070684).
Previous research has identified myriad risk factors associated with co-occurring conduct problems, drug use, and HIV/AIDS risk behaviors in youths involved in the juvenile justice system. The proposed study aims to test an integrated, family-centered preventive intervention for adolescent boys and girls with this co-occurring constellation of behaviors and their parents in partnership with the juvenile justice system where the intervention will be delivered.